Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > School News > Bury Grammar School Governing Body

Bury Grammar School Governing Body

13 Jan 2023
School News

As we move into 2023, Bury Grammar School is delighted to announce the appointment of a new Chair of Governors and two further highly experienced Governors to our Board.

Richard Smyth, new BGS Chair of Governors

Richard Smyth, BGS Old Boy, former solicitor and NHS Trust non-executive director, takes over the reins from Gillian Winter, our current Chair of Governors, at the AGM at the end of this term.

The Governors and Principal are thrilled to have appointed Richard to be Bury Grammar School’s new Chair, following a competitive selection process which elicited interest nationwide, and are so pleased to be welcoming such an accomplished former pupil and strong supporter of BGS back to Bury.

Richard has had a stellar career since leaving Bury Grammar School as a pupil: he enjoyed more than 35 years’ experience as a solicitor and, in more recent times, has played a key role as a charity trustee. Richard’s highly successful career as a criminal lawyer involved holding senior positions in well-known law firms representing a wide range of clients including global corporations and professional individuals.  His work included compliance, governance and risk management advice as well as conduct of serious and complex criminal cases, mainly within the context of business and finance.

The Bury Grammar community may well be interested to know that Richard in fact spent a decade of his career practising law in our very own Courthouse, which is now of course our academic centre for Sixth Form. No doubt the future lawyers among our sixth formers will be interested to hear the stories he could tell of those days!

Having retired from legal practice in recent years, Richard has been able to develop further his experience as a charity trustee, experience which will be integral to his role as our Chair.  In 2016 he joined the Board of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust as a non-executive director; he currently chairs the Audit Committee and is also a member of the Charitable Funds Committee.

Richard said, " I am thrilled and honoured to have been appointed as the next Chair of Governors of Bury Grammar School. I have very fond memories of my time as a pupil at BGS - the times spent in rehearsing and performing in the choral society and orchestra, the drill and parades in the CCF - and last but not least, the highest calibre of teachers who provided me with endless encouragement. It was just the best foundation for everything I have achieved since.

Going back to the Courthouse for the first time in more than 30 years was fascinating. I made very regular appearances on behalf of clients there and recall that my very first serious financial crime case commenced in the main court room.

But now we are focussed on the future. The School has exciting plans to develop the curriculum, enhance the estate and ensure we remain at the cutting edge of the use of technology; these are plans the Governors are keen to support.

I am really looking forward to working with Jo Anderson and the talented SLT to continue to strengthen our reputation as the school of first choice for pupils and staff in the area.  We are looking to the future with confidence.”

Richard is already in post as Chair Elect on the BGS Board and officially takes over as Chair of Governors at the end of the Spring Term 2023. We are all very much looking forward to working with him and together furthering our vision for Bury Grammar School.

Also recently appointed to our Governing Body are Ryan Johnson and Sophia McNeill.

Ryan graduated in 2006 obtaining a BA with First Class Honours Degree in Business Management & Information Technology from the University of Liverpool and went on to join the largest custodian bank globally, where he operated as vice president for over 7 years, working in different countries throughout the world during his spell, including but not limited to, Pittsburgh, New York, Pune, Brussels and Germany.

He has been a magistrate within the main court of Central Manchester for over 15 years and currently sits on the Northwest Advisory Committee, where he is often required to chair conduct matters and carry out interviews. He is also part trained as a solicitor, obtaining his GDL at the University of Central Lancashire.

Professionally Ryan has been running his own management consultancy firm as Chief Executive Officer for the last 5 years, Lloyd Expert Consultancy Ltd, and he used to officiate at the professional championship level of football in the EFL.

Ryan commented, ‘I am over the moon to be joining Bury Grammar School’s Governing Body and having the privilege of enhancing our pupils’ experiences. In our view, we have the very best Senior Leadership Team in the UK here at BGS. They care an enormous amount about our pupils and will go to great lengths to ensure they are provided with the very best teaching, opportunities and support. I was immediately impressed when meeting the SLT at their relentless focus on achieving the very best for our pupils. Their drive and commitment are impressive.’

Sophia McNeill

Passionate about philanthropy and creating lasting social change, Sophia McNeill has a driving desire to support those who are under-represented in society. A fundraising professional with over 14 years’ experience in the higher education sector, Sophia works as a Development Manager for Manchester Metropolitan University generating philanthropic income to support the next generation. 

In her spare time, Sophia enjoys walking, reading, and spending time with friends. 

“Passionate about access to education for young people, I am delighted to join the Board of Governors at Bury Grammar School and support the School in its ongoing ambition to provide a safe space that encourages learning and development for bright young minds.” 

As new Governors join us, so former Governors move on to pastures new.

Gillian Winter, our Chair since 2016, was in post during a key era of transition as the School evolved from being two very separate schools to the one Bury Grammar School we know today - a school, in Gillian’s words,  ‘where young people benefit from one of the best and most complete educational offers I have ever seen and where the extremely talented staff make sure that never faulters.’ She adds, ‘It has been a real privilege to work with the senior leaders of this school to ensure that their vision for all the changes at the School came to fruition over these last seven years.’ Gillian goes on to express her thanks to her fellow Governors whom she describes as ‘a talented group.’  ‘I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them,’ she comments, ‘they have given me much counsel, support and good, sensible advice. Bury Grammar School would not be in such a strong position today, if there were not so many willing Governors, with such a great range of skills, around the table. I am also grateful to the Bury community, where I have met some very friendly people.’

Gillian also has warm words for Richard Smyth, her successor: ‘I am delighted to hand over to Richard Smyth, your excellent new Chair of Governors.  I wish the School and all who study and work there a most successful future and I say thank you to everyone for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a real change, an enduring change which will continue to give all of its young people the ‘landing lights for life’ for many years to come.’

Martin Entwistle, BGS Old Boy and member of Finance Committee, also retires as a Governor this Spring. He said, ‘It has been an enormous privilege to be a Governor of BGS. I would like to thank my fellow Governors and the Executive, especially Jo Anderson and Devin Cassidy, for their wisdom, vision and support. I’m delighted to have been part of the huge success that the school is now having and I’m confident that it is on course for continued success. After 12 years on the Governing Body, I am retiring from a very strong BGS team and wish them all the very best for the future.’ The SLT have very much appreciated Martin’s warm support and encouragement over the years and are pleased he will be staying on as Treasurer of the Old Boys’ Association after 16 years as its Secretary. His presence on the Alumni Committee also demonstrates that this is not a school you can easily escape from!

Principal, Jo Anderson, said, ‘All of us at Bury Grammar School wholeheartedly thank our outgoing Governors for everything they have done for our School and look with great optimism and enthusiasm to a new era for BGS in which our pupils enjoy an even more vibrant and fulfilling education. We are keen for our community to hear from our new team and anticipate there being an opportunity for parents and pupils to meet our Governing Body and SLT later on this year to learn more of our plans for the future. We wish our new Governors every success and happiness in their new roles.’


Arthur passed away peacefully in the early hours of Friday 26 April. His health and mobility had reduced over the last 2 years although he managed to … More...




Bury Grammar School
Tenterden Street, Bury
Lancashire, BL9 0HN



This website is powered by